Fanny Hill: or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure

Fanny Hill: or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure

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by John Cleland
     
 

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Fanny Hill, shrouded in controversy for most of its more than 250-year life, and banned from publication in the United States until 1966, was once considered immoral and without literary merit, even earning its author a jail sentence for obscenity.

The tale of a naïve young prostitute in bawdy eighteenth-century London who slowly rises to…  See more details below

Overview

Fanny Hill, shrouded in controversy for most of its more than 250-year life, and banned from publication in the United States until 1966, was once considered immoral and without literary merit, even earning its author a jail sentence for obscenity.

The tale of a naïve young prostitute in bawdy eighteenth-century London who slowly rises to respectability, the novel–and its popularity–endured many bannings and critics, and today Fanny Hill is considered an important piece of political parody and sexual philosophy on par with French libertine novels.

This uncensored version is set from the 1749 edition and includes commentary by Charles Rembar, the lawyer who defended the novel in the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case, and newly commissioned notes.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307824110
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/15/2012
Series:
Modern Library Classics
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
555,968
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Volume I

Madam,

Sit down to give you an undeniable proof of my considering your desires as indispensible orders: ungracious then as the task may be, I shall recall to view those scandalous stages of my life, out of which I emerg'd at length, to the enjoyment of every blessing in the power of love, health, and fortune to bestow; whilst yet in the flower of youth, and not too late to employ the leisure afforded me by great ease and affluence, to cultivate an understanding naturally not a despicable one, and which had, even amidst the whirl of loose pleasures I had been tost in, exerted more observation on the characters and manners of the world, than what is common to those of my unhappy profession, who looking on all thought or reflexion as their capital enemy, keep it at as great a distance as they can, or destroy it without mercy.

Hating, as I mortally do, all long unnecessary prefaces, I shall give you good quarter in this, and use no farther apology, than to prepare you for seeing the loose part of my life, wrote with the same liberty that I led it.

Truth! Stark naked truth, is the word, and I will not so much as take the pains to bestow the strip of a gauze-wrapper on it, but paint situations such as they actually rose to me in nature, careless of violating those laws of decency, that were never made for such unreserved intimacies as ours; and you have too much sense, too much knowledge of the originals themselves, to snuff prudishly, and out of character, at the pictures of them. The greatest men, those of the first and most leading taste, will not scruple adorning their private closets with nudities, though, in compliance with vulgar prejudices they may not think them decent decorations of the stair-case or saloon.

This, and enough, premised, I go souse into my personal history. My maiden name was Francis Hill. I was born at a small village near Liverpool in Lancashire, of parents extremely poor, and I piously believe, extremely honest.

My father, who had received a maim on his limbs that disabled him from following the more laborious branches of country-drudgery, got, by making of nets, a scanty subsistance, which was not much enlarg'd by my mother's keeping a little day-school for the girls in her neighbourhood. They had had several children, but none lived to any age, except myself, who had received from nature a constitution perfectly healthy.

My education, till past fourteen, was no better than very vulgar; reading, or rather spelling, an illegible scrawl, and a little ordinary plain-work, composed the whole system of it: and then all my foundation in virtue was no other than a total ignorance of vice, and the shy timidity general to our sex, in the tender stage of life, when objects alarm, or frighten more by their novelty, than any thing else: but then this is a fear too often cured at the expence of innocence, when Miss, by degrees, begins no longer to look on man as a creature of prey that will eat her.

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Meet the Author

Gary Gautier is a professor at the University of Colorado and the author of the book Landed Patriarchy in Fielding’s Novels: Fictional Landscapes, Fictional Genders.

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Fanny Hill (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading) 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this on a whim and wasn't sure if I'd like it - Turns out I LOVE this book! I highly recommend the Fanny Hill book to anyone looking for a bit of excitement and erotica in a book. You'll enjoy every page as I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is one of those that you have to take your time reading. This book was banned for a while for obvious reasons. It is very interesting with a great ending. Good interesting details.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always wondered what this book was about and why it was such a hushed book in its time. It is quite interesting to read the ideas and value system of this era. It is a good book for those who might think that woman were not less than second class chattel in the last 100 plus years. Reading this book just puts perspective onto a young woman's sexual situation and lack of freedom. For that reason alone it'sworth the time to read.
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